Priti Accuses Electoral Commission of Bias and “Double Standards”

Following the Electoral Commission’s refusal to investigate the Remain campaign despite clear evidence of spending breaches, Priti Patel has accused them of bias and “double standards”. Priti notes that the Commission launched a full investigation into Vote Leave over claims of spending collusion – despite no evidence – and yet are refusing to look at BSE even though a whole dossier of evidence was submitted to them. Priti has a point – how can they investigate the Leavers when there is no evidence, but ignore evidence of Remainers overspending?

What is particularly concerning is that you decided on 20 November 2017 to reopen an investigation into Vote Leave Limited and Mr Darren Grimes, in spite of the fact that there is much less evidence of a common plan. As you acknowledge at [25] of the Review of Assessments – ‘there are no direct indications of the campaigners working together’ (my emphasis added) and that – as you state at [31] – that ‘the Commission is not aware of what any such communications [between Vote Leave and Mr Grimes] contained or whether it indicated a common plan or arrangement was in place’.

In other words – despite the fact that there is no evidence of Vote Leave Limited or Mr Grimes engaging in joint planning (even of an advisory nature) – you have been persuaded of the need for a full investigation. However, when clear documented evidence of the Remain campaigns coordinating specific messaging is presented to you, this is dismissed as ‘advisory’. This would appear to be a clear case of double standards.

Priti not unreasonably alleges the Electoral Commission have a lower bar for investigating Leavers than Remainers:

I have to conclude that the Electoral Commission appears to have used an extraordinarily low bar – arguably, far too low a bar— when deciding to open your new investigation on Vote Leave and other campaigners for Brexit, yet have set a very high bar when deciding to open an investigation into Britain Stronger in Europe.

She wants them to reconsider their decision. Good luck with that – we know where the Electoral Commission’s loyalties really lie

Electoral Commission Confirm Remain Spending “Under Assessment”

The Electoral Commission has confirmed it is looking into whether the Remain campaign coordinated its spending and shared campaign materials in breach of the rules. Responding to Priti Patel’s letter from last week, the Commission said:

“That Britain Stronger In Europe may have failed to report joint spending with the Liberal Democrats, the Labour Party and Conservatives IN by way of paying for campaign materials and/or coordinating campaigns via a daily phone call… This matter is under assessment in line with our Enforcement Policy, to determine whether or not the Commission should conduct an investigation.”

They say they will report back within two weeks. Would be very unlike the Electoral Commission to talk up allegations of Leave rule breaches but talk down the Remain campaign doing the same thing, wouldn’t it?

Priti Asks Electoral Commission to Investigate Remain Campaign

Priti Patel has written to the Electoral Commission asking them to launch an investigation following Guido’s stories on how the Remain campaign flouted spending rules during the referendum. As we revealed last week, Remainers shared data, suppliers and campaign materials, coordinated spending, funnelled £1 million to new campaigns set up in the month before the vote, and potentially spent double the legal limit. Priti says:

“There needs to be a thorough investigation into the actions, expenditure and financial probity of Remain campaigners, who appear to have flouted the rules and the spirit of the law to advance their cause in concert with each other.

It cannot be right that remain campaigners can so blatantly flout the rules to feed the British people their propaganda. As well as coordinating campaigning and spending they used every organ of the British state to try to bully people into staying in the EU. They even spent £9m of taxpayers’ money on a campaign leaflet breaking the normal rules of fair play of our democratic system.

‘Despite this wall of fear and fury the British people held their nerve and bravely voted to take back control. Brexit will be a great liberation for this country – but the leadership of the remain campaign must still be held to account for their actions.”

Read her letter in full below:

The Electoral Commission have told the BBC they are looking into Guido’s stories, but have yet to launch a formal probe. A lot of evidence landing on their desk this morning…

Remain Campaigns Coordinated Spending

Remain lawyer Jolyon Maugham called the validity of the referendum into question over the various Leave campaigns allegedly coordinating their spending. As he wrote in the Guardian, Maugham was so concerned about Vote Leave paying for services from other campaigns that he launched a Judicial Review into what he called “illegal spending”. Maugham will surely be equally outraged to learn that the same thing happened on the Remain campaign…

Guido has found:

  • The In Campaign Ltd paid for £52,062.23 worth of campaign materials for the Liberal Democrats between 15 April 2016 and 8 June 2016.

  • The In Campaign Ltd paid for materials worth £22,829 for Labour on 15 April 2016

  • Labour paid for £7,265.65 worth of materials for the The In Campaign Ltd on 26 May 2016.

  • Emma Duncan (who set up Wake Up And Vote) donated £24,000 to DDB UK Ltd on 11 July 2016.

  • We are Europe donated £10,000 to DDB UK Ltd on 29 June 2016.

  • Virgin Management Limited donated £15,000 to We Are Europe on 15 June 2016.

Maugham accused Vote Leave of breaking the law and said parliament could decide to overturn Brexit as a result. He wrote: “It’s not just about Brexit. The reason we have spending limits is because we want to live in a democracy”. Now it’s clear the Remain campaign was doing the same thing, will he call for an investigation into them too?

Guido’s investigation over the last few days has revealed the Remain campaign coordinated not only their spending but their messaging, campaign plans, data, materials and donations, with the effect of causing them to overspend by more than double the legal limit. Stay tuned…

Remain Donors Funnelled £1 Million to New Campaigns Set Up in Weeks Before Referendum

More than £1 million of Remain donors’ money was funnelled to new campaigns set up in the weeks before the referendum, as the official Remain campaign approached its maximum spending limit. A Guido investigation can reveal several of the campaigns that supported Remain were registered only weeks before the referendum, and were given hundreds of thousands of pounds each to spend in those final weeks.

  • DDB UK Ltd registered as an independent campaign on 25 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. DDB UK Ltd received £191,000 in donations.

  • Best For Our Future registered as a permitted participant on 27 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. It received £424,000 in donations

  • The In Crowd registered on 10 June 2016, less than two weeks before the referendum. It received £76,000 in donations.

  • Virgin Management Ltd registered as a permitted participant on 3 June 2016, less than three weeks before the referendum. It received £210,000 in donations.

  • Wake Up And Vote registered as a permitted participant on 24 May 2016, less than a month before the referendum. It received £100,000 in donations.

Five campaigns which only registered less than one month before the referendum received a total of £1,001,000 in donations. 85% of the total donations given to these campaigns were made by people who had already donated to the official Remain campaign:

Could it possibly be that the official campaign was getting close to its legal limit, and so the donors’ money was directed to other groups in the run up to the vote so it could still be spent? Remember this is exactly what Remainers have accused the Leave campaign of doing, claiming this is reason for the result to be overturned. Stunning hypocrisy…

Remain Groups Shared Data, Suppliers and Campaign Materials

The Electoral Commission is investigating whether Vote Leave and other Leave campaigns coordinated by using the same supplier, digital marketing agency AIQ. This story has been reported extensively in the pro-Remain media, some Remainers have even suggested it means the referendum result should be voided. Yet Guido has found evidence of this happening with the various Remain campaigns, on a much larger scale…

  • The In Campaign Ltd spent £7,467.60 with advertising agency Adam and Eve on 1 June 2016.

  • Remain group Wake Up And Vote spent £24,000 on Adam and Eve on 28 June.

  • Adam and Eve registered another agency, DDB UK Ltd, as an independent Remain campaign, which received £191,000 in donations. This included £24,000 from Emma Duncan, founder of Wake Up And Vote. DDB UK Ltd’s registered address was the same as Adam and Eve’s, and its responsible person was Adam and Eve chief executive James Murphy.

This means that the official Remain campaign used the services of a business which had already set up its own campaign as a permitted participant in the referendum, spending nearly £250,000. It is impossible to believe that no coordination occurred here.

  • M&C Saatchi acted as a supplier to both The In Campaign Ltd, which spent £57,600 on the advertising agency, and Conservatives IN Ltd which spent £4,029.81.

  • The In Crowd spent £34,375.20 on Build Hollywood Ltd, whilst We Are Europe spent £54,000 on the same supplier.

  • Freud Communications offered its services to The In Crowd at a cost of £64,431.78, and to We Are Europe for £30,000.

  • Goodstuff Communications acted as a supplier to both The In Crowd which spent £55,215 on the agency, and We Are Europe which spent £6,000.

Is it believable that there was no coordination between The In Campaign, Wake Up and Vote, Adam and Eve and DDB UK? Is it believable that the same communications companies acted for multiple Remain campaigners with no coordination whatsoever? Just think how mad the Remainers went about Vote Leave and AIQ – it turns out their own side was doing it on a much bigger scale…

Then there is the question of the various Remain groups sharing data and campaign materials. An extract from Tim Shipman’s All Out War reveals: “[Stronger In’s] field operation was effectively subcontracted to the Labour Party, since the Tories had little or no presence in the working-class areas which the Brexiteers were targeting”. If the Labour Party was in charge of the field campaign, did BSE notify its supporters that it would share their data with a third party? Is it believable that there was no coordination here on messaging, leaflets and other campaign materials? The Electoral Commission is investigating Vote Leave, surely it will have to take a look at the Remain campaign too…

Remain Campaign Flouted Rules to Spend Double Legal Limit

The Remain campaign flouted Electoral Commission rules so it could overspend by up to £7.5 million during the referendum, a Guido investigation can reveal. Over the next few days Guido will be looking at how the various Remain groups coordinated their messaging, campaign plans, data, materials and donations, causing them to overspend by more than double the legal limit. Sorry Electoral Commission HQ, you’re going to have to come back early from your Christmas holidays…

The Electoral Commission rules are clear: if one campaign “coordinates [its] activity with another campaigner”, then they are “highly likely to be working together”. This definition of “working together” is important, because the Electoral Commission also says: “the lead campaign group must count all of the spending of all the campaigners it works together with towards its own limit”. Guess what… they didn’t.

Two books provide detailed accounts of a number of Remain campaigns coordinating plans and working together in the weeks leading up to the referendum. Tim Shipman’s All Out War reveals “[Craig] Oliver led an early-morning conference call for the media teams at 6.15am. At 7.30am there was a second conference call, in which Stronger In would tell Labour In, Conservatives IN and the Liberal Democrats about their plans for the day”. This clearly counts as “coordinating” and “working together” under the Electoral Commission’s definition.

In his book Unleashing Demons, Craig Oliver somewhat ill-advisedly admits to coordination between the various Remain campaigns: “I join a 7.30 a.m. cross-party call chaired by Will Straw. It’s designed to catch up with what the In campaigns for the various political parties are doing that day. I want to get across a blunt message: this matters. We failed on immigration yesterday, hardly anyone stuck to our line that we accept it’s a problem, but Leave’s solution of trashing the economy is no way to deal with it”.

This reveals clear coordination between Remain campaigns both in terms of messaging and campaign plans for individual days. It would have allowed numerous Remain campaigns to provide a unified message on key issues, as well as adapt their individual campaign activities to complement those of other Remain campaigns. Remember the Electoral Commission rules: “the lead campaign group must count all of the spending of all the campaigners it works together with towards its own limit”…

The combined spending of The In Campaign Ltd (Britain Stronger in Europe), Conservatives IN, Labour and Liberal Democrats during the control period was £14,496,806. Given the clear evidence of coordination between these campaigns, this means that Britain Stronger in Europe looks to have breached its spending limits by up to £7,496,806, more than double the legal limit allowed under Electoral Commission rules.

There has been a lot of attention in the Remain media about alleged coordination between the various Leave campaigns, yet no focus on Remainers breaching the rules. Imagine what the Electoral Commission would have done if they discovered that Vote Leave, Leave.EU and UKIP had a daily morning call to discuss campaign plans. Guido has a lot more to come on this. Stay tuned…

Referendum Battle Bus Challenge

buses

Above are the real life buses that Vote Leave, Britain Stronger In Europe, UKIP and Labour In used for the EU referendum campaign. But can you guess which one is which? Answers in the comments..

Stronger No Longer

stronger-no-longer

The Stronger In campaign has finally thrown in the towel, all those corporate millions, Roland Rudd’s spin, Cameron and Osborne’s careers and all they have to show for it is a Commander of the British Empire for Will Straw. Will says the “Stronger In” organisation is no longer.

Which is amateurism until the end. The database built up at great expense cannot therefore legally be used by another organisation. Just don’t let the ever litigous Arron Banks hear about it… 

Watchdog Slams IMF’s Complacency, Lack of Transparency and EU Groupthink

lagarde-trial

A damning report by IMF watchdog the Independent Evaluation Office has slammed a “culture of complacency” in Christine Lagarde’s organisation. Focusing on the IMF’s response to the Eurozone crisis, the report claims that the Fund was riven with “issues of accountability and transparency”, claiming Lagarde and senior management established “small, ad hoc staff task forces” to plan for the possibility of bailouts, rather than holding executive board meetings. The report slams the “lack of board involvement”, with management failing to discuss – sometimes despite direct requests – issues around the unfolding crisis. Preparations made by management lacked “analytical depth, rigor, or specificity”. Most damning of all, however, is the IMF’s “groupthink” and unquestioning links to European policy – particularly their irrational fervour for the Euro. The report concludes:

“At the euro area level, IMF staff’s position was often too close to the official line of European officials, and the IMF lost effectiveness as an independent assessor.”

So much for that independent report, eh Remainers?

Matthew Elliott on Why Leave Won

Referendum-winning Vote Leave boss Matthew Elliott recounts how the campaign was won on today’s Daily Politics“At 10pm on the 23 of June, the consensus was that Vote Leave had lost. A contact of mine at Number 10 texted me to say, ‘You’re toast'”. And the rest is history…

Which Remainer are you? Post-Brexit Edition

You can take the pre-referendum quiz here

BSE’s Laughable Leaflet Hypocrisy

BSE spent yesterday whinging that Vote Leave are distributing leaflets “completely absent of Vote Leave branding”. So outraged were the Remain campaign that they pinged off a press release and even had Chris Bryant complain to the Electoral Commission. Which isn’t the brightest move considering BSE have been sending out their own unbranded leaflets, with just the acronym “BSIE” in very small letters on the return address:

Will the Electoral Commission look at them too?

Select Committee Accuses Stuart Rose of “Intellectual Dishonesty”

Remain campaigners Stuart Rose and Will Straw were hauled in front of the Treasury Select Committee today. The Britain Stronger In chairman received quite the lashing from committee chair Andrew Tyrie, who accused Rose of “intellectual dishonesty” and a “scandalous misuse of data”, in reference to BSE’s discredited claim that EU membership is worth £3,000 to every household in this countryGuido expects more of the Remain camp’s misrepresentations will be exposed over the next few months…

Dave’s No.10 Meet and Greet For Pro-EU MEPs

EU REFORM

The PM hosted a delegation of eight pro-EU Tory MEPs at Downing Street on Monday morning. Brussels colleagues were surprised to see the group led by Vicky Ford, the East of England MEP who has spent the past year flexing her Eurosceptic muscles, calling for a clampdown on migrants and British “jurisdiction over courts, employment law and human rights”. Ford apparently went full Europhile in front of Dave, heaping praise on his renegotiation strategy and claiming she was leading the pro-EU charge for the Tories in Brussels. A fellow MEP whispers:

“She has managed to upset everyone! MEPs who want to leave the EU are angry at her hypocrisy and pro-EU MEPs are furious that Vicky, who is renowned for her temperamental nature, is claiming to lead them!”

Doh!

Ukippers for EU, Real or Parody?

UKIP STAY

Surely this must be a wind up. Twitter has been abuzz with a new UKIP referendum campaign group, although this one is slightly different: it’s campaigning for Britain to stay in the European Union. The UKIP To Stay campaign’s mission statment reads:

“UKIP to Stay is a social media advocacy group, supporting the faction of UKIP that wish for Britain to remain in the European Union. UKIPTS have a vision of a reformed EU which can carry out the policies of democratically elected parties on a fair, transparent, and united basis”.

Gotta be a joke, right?

Well, according to a recent YouGov poll, 28% of UKIP supporters really do want to stay in the EU.

‘UKIP to Stay’ claim they see “eye to eye with most UKIP supporters on everything except for the EU issue”, expanding on this in their FAQs page:

“UKIP has a lot more to offer than mostly Eurosceptic views. The party’s ideas for the economy, immigration, welfare, taxation, and education all fit with what we believe. We simply differ on one issue”.

So is the campaign real or fake? Vote below:

UPDATE: A UKIP spokesman confirms, shockingly, that it is indeed a spoof. Guido readers were right!

Star Wars Politics

STARWARS-SIE

Everyone seems to have a take on the politics of Star Wars, was it a Cold War allegory, with the Empire as the Soviet Union? Now that death star has been destroyed the Empire is being re-cast by some as the European Union – after all Princess Padmé Amidala (played by Natalie Portman) in Revenge of the Sith is engaged in a trade treaty dispute at the Galactic Parliament. Her people of Naboo, a small constitutional monarchy, could perhaps be the British, which makes Nick Clegg a political Jar Jar Binks.

James Delingpole makes some sound points about the Star Wars fight for freedom, Tyler Durden too over at Zero Hedge makes a case for Star Wars being an example of libertarian myth-making. The New Statesman’s Stephen Bush seems to accept that the heroes are counter-revolutionary freedom fighters against an oppressive galactic state. He even calls the Jedis “Tories”…

One thing is for sure, these are not the Jedis you are looking for:

corbynista-jedis

YouGov have asked the British public which Star Wars character political leaders identify with:

Clearly they think politicians are baddies…

Yet More Pro-EU Sockpuppets Funded By Brussels

Simon Hix Makes It Rain

BSE have a new line: “Britain is the best connected country in EU negotiations,” they claim, pushing a new report by the Economic and Social Research Council as evidence. Indeed Britain is so “well connected” that we have not once succeeded in blocking an unwanted EU measure in recent years. This is despite trying over seventy times.

So, who is behind the report? It was published as part of ESRC’s “UK in a Changing Europe” project, which is directed by Professor Anand Menon. Who is a “visiting expert” at the European Commission, reporting directly to the President.

What about ESRC themselves? They have just won the contract to lead the EU India Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities – a 1.5-million euro project funded under European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme. They are literally paid by Brussels.

And what of the report’s author? Simon Hix was previously directly awarded a contract directly by the European Commission. Worth £53,700.

Yet more pro-EU sockpuppets funded by Brussels, then wheeled out by BSE. Guido will be watching out for more…

Oakeshott Returns: Campaigning Track Record in Full

Guess who’s back? Former LibDem Matthew Oakeshott has ended his leave of absence from the Lords to take an active role in the In campaign:

Readers will remember how Oakeshott blew £600,000 backing anti-Tory candidates in May. That campaigning track record in full…

Jessica Asato (Norwich North) – LOST
Catherine Atkinson (Erewash) – LOST
Nick Bent (Warrington South) – LOST
Louise Baldock (Stockton South) – LOST
Polly Billington (Thurrock) – LOST
Lisa Forbes (Peterborough) – LOST
Victoria Fowler (Nuneaton) – LOST
James Frith (Bury North) – LOST
Sophy Gardner (Gloucester) – LOST
Jamie Hanley (Pudsey) – LOST
Sarah Jones (Croydon Central) – LOST
Uma Kumaran (Harrow East) – LOST
Amina Lone (Morecambe and Lunesdale) – LOST
Jo McCarron (Kingswood) – LOST
Natasha Millward (Dudley South) – LOST
Lara Norris (Great Yarmouth) – LOST
Sarah Owen (Hastings & Rye) – LOST
Nancy Platts (Brighton Kemptown) – LOST
Lucy Rigby (Lincoln) – LOST
Will Scobie (Thanet South) – LOST
Lee Sherriff (Carlisle) – LOST
Joy Squires (Worcester) – LOST
Will Straw (Rossendale and Darwen) – LOST
Sharon Taylor (Stevenage) – LOST
Janos Toth (Cannock Chase) – LOST
Julia Tickridge (Weaver Vale) – LOST
Norman Baker MP (Lewes) – LOST
Lorley Burt (Solihull) – LOST
Helen Flynn (Harrogate & Knaresborough) – LOST
Martin Horwood MP (Cheltenham) – LOST
Ros Kayes (Dorset West) – LOST
Tessa Munt MP (Wells) – LOST
Julie Porksen (Berwick-upon-Tweed) – LOST
Jackie Porter (Winchester) – LOST
David Rendel (Somerton & Frome) – LOST
Dan Rogerson MP (North Cornwall) – LOST
Adrian Sanders MP (Torbay) – LOST
Vikki Slade (Mid Dorset & North Poole) – LOST
Dorothy Thornhill (Watford) – LOST
Jenny Willott MP (Cardiff Central) – LOST

Bet BSE are delighted to have him…

BSE Director Forgets About EU Links

Guido favourite Lucy Thomas, the ‘In’ campaign’s spin chief, has emphatically declared that the BSE campaign was not set up by the EU-funded ‘European Movement’:

[…] Read the rest

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